Every week, the league office names offensive, defensive, and special-teams players of the week for each conference. In most weeks, the league gets it right in every category.
This week, it’s fair to question whether the league got it wrong with the NFC defensive player of the week award.
Buccaneers defensive end Shaq Barrett received the designation, based on a pair of sacks (one for a safety), six tackles, three tackles for loss, and two quarterback hits. That’s impressive. But it’s not nearly as impressive as what Cowboys defensive end Aldon Smith accomplished.
In Seattle, Smith (who was nominated by the Cowboys for the award) had three sacks, four tackles, two tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, and a tipped pass.
Beyond that, there’s this: Watch both games. Which guy popped more? Which guy seemed to be always around the ball, whenever he was on the field? It’s a no-brainer.
Smith, who was one of the best pass rushers in football before suspensions derailed his career, has returned after nearly five years away, and he’s nearly as good as he was when he was at his best. Lined up on the edge in a two-point stance, he looks and moves like a late-career Lawrence Taylor — a player who was still excellent but not the overpowering one-man wrecking crew that he was in his prime.
Maybe Smith could have been that one-man wrecking crew if at the ages of 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30 he had been able to play to his full capacity, or at all. Now at 31, he’s leading the league in sacks.
So, yes, the league office should have selected him to be the NFC defensive player of the week. Maybe, come Thursday, Aldon Smith will get another honor he has earned: NFC defensive player of the month.
Aldon Smith gets snubbed for NFC defensive player of the week originally appeared on Pro Football Talk